Clayton Utz Knowledge: NSW EPA gets serious about circular economy

Case Studies

Dec 3, 2022

Click here for full article 

Claire Smith and Alice Brennan from Clayton Utz have written a very informative piece on the NSW EPA’s recent efforts to establish an existing resource recovery framework and the issues raised by stakeholders. 

The resource recovery framework is the policy, regulatory and compliance framework administered by the EPA and used to enable resource recovery of useful material from waste and promote the circular economy. The resource recovery framework is essential to achieving ambitious recovery targets set out in the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019 which have been endorsed by the NSW government.

The core components of the framework include the:

  • definition of waste and the accompanying waste offences;
  • NSW waste levy settings (which is out of scope of the current review);
  • licensing framework and thresholds; and
  • resource recovery orders and exemptions.

The EPA had released an issues paper seeking feedback on the framework as part of its independent review led by former head of EPA Victoria, Professor Cathy.

The key issues identified by stakeholders during the consultation process included:

  • the lack of certainty and transparency,
  • an uneven playing field,
  • the framework’s inability to cope with new waste streams, and
  • the cost and time taken to process resource recovery and exemption orders.


Public consultation has now closed with the Independent Review finalised and available on the NSW EPA website. The EPA is now in the process of considering the proposed recommendations and a formal response.

Clayton Utz is a member of Circular Australia’s Precincts & Infrastructure Taskforce. 

See all our Taskforce members on our Partners Page

More News:

Subscribe to

our news

Become a partner

Get involved in our future circular economy metrics projects


Receive updates and further information about our circular economy metrics work